In the midst of the ongoing battle to get its $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard approved by Brazil, Microsoft has accused Sony of paying for “blocking rights” to prevent developers from adding their games to Xbox Game Pass.
The company filed a claim to the South American country’s Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE) on Tuesday, commenting that Sony has been actively trying to inhibit the growth of Game Pass by keeping certain games from appearing on Microsoft’s game-streaming service. In the claim, Microsoft says Sony is paying developers to keep their games out of Game Pass out of exclusivity fears. In other words, it’s concerned that some of the Activision Blizzard games that are on PlayStation Plus, like games in the Call of Duty series, may become a Game Pass exclusive once the deal closes — a concern that Microsoft deems incoherent.
“Considering that exclusivity strategies have been at the heart of Sony’s strategy to strengthen the company’s presence in the games industry and that Sony is a leader in the distribution of digital games, Sony’s concern with any exclusivity of Activision’s content is inconsistent — to say the least,” Microsoft said in the document, as roughly translated from Portuguese. “Microsoft’s ability to continue expanding Game Pass has been hampered by Sony’s desire to inhibit such growth. Sony pays for ‘blocking rights’ to prevent developers from adding content to Game Pass and other competing subscription services.”
Earlier this month, Sony said that Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, and by extension the Call of Duty franchise, would sway players to pick Xbox over PlayStation. Microsoft reiterated more than once that Call of Duty, as well as other games in Activision Blizzard’s portfolio, will remain multiplatform even after the deal closes at the end of this fiscal year.
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